Andre Berto stops Clay in 7th round

andre berto19.05.07 - By Jeff Bastasini: Welterweight prospect Andre Berto (18-0, 16 KO's) put on a sensational punching display on Saturday night en route to a 7th round stoppage of tough journeyman Martinus Clay (12-15-2, 4 KO's) on the undercard of Taylor/Spinks, at the FedEx Forum, in Memphis, Tennessee. Berto, 23, a former Olympian boxer fighting for Haiti in the 2004 Olympics, showed flashes of brilliance as he used vast a array of fast power shots to slowly take the fight out of Martinus Clay, Berto's latest victim.

Instead of trying to take Clay out in the bout, as is Berto's custom, he appeared to be taking it easy on Clay in the early rounds, perhaps using him to get more rounds under his belt. However, Berto's punches were sizzling regardless, and Clay was eating a lot of them up until the point he suddenly turned his back and quit in the 7th round, doing a Duran "no mas" imitation. A round earlier, in the 6th, Berto had dropped Clay with a quick left hand to midsection, sending Clay to the canvas where he sat for the count of seven before getting up to continue fighting.

In rounds 1-3, Clay stayed on the outside, making a point of using his jab to keep the shorter Berto from getting in close. For the most part, it was partially effective as he wasn't getting hit with any real huge shots during this time. However, who looked real tight, didn't seem to mind as he seemed content to land an occasional bomb.

Starting in the 4th round, Berto began throwing very shots, landing numerous combinations which had the small crowd screaming. Clay took the shots well, but he seemed to start getting dispirited as if he knew that it was a matter of time before he was stopped. In the next to rounds, Clay was more of a punching bag for Berto than anything else, as he was unable to keep Berto off him and was getting pounded with wicked shots.

In the 6th round, with Berto against the ropes, he landed a lightening fast left hand to Clay's midsection sending him to the canvas. Clay got up but he appeared to not want to fight any longer as he had taken too many shots, especially in the last three rounds. In between rounds, there was a lot of commotion in Clay's corner and it appeared the fight was going to be stopped. However, they let Clay, who looked like wished the fight had been stopped, out for the beginning of the 7th. Moments later, after taking a number of head shots from Berto, Clay suddenly turned his back on Berto and walked away, while waving his hand in the air to indicate that he didn't wish to fight any longer. It was sad that he had been forced to quit in this manner, as it was clear after the 6th that the fight should have been stopped to prevent him from taking any more needless punishment. To be honest, Clay took a lot of shots all fight long, but being that the fight was being televised nationally, he probably tried too hard to be competitive and should have thought about quiting earlier.

Article posted on 20.05.2007

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